Ceduna Aerodrome - 1950s


These photos show the main buildings of the aerodrome at Ceduna, South Australia, as it was in the 1950s. Roll your mouse over the upper photo to identifiy the various structures.

Macarthur Job, a flying doctor pilot based in Ceduna in the mid-1950s recalls:

"I would think the photos date from a little before my time there (I was based in Ceduna from early 1954 to late 1958 - not quite five years).

The [upper] photograph shows the DCA building, facing the aerodrome apron, that was divided into two internally for the Aeradio and Meteorological offices. Ceduna was staffed by three Aeradio Communications Officers, a Radio Technician, two Groundsmen and three Meteorological Observers.

The little building to the left and behind was the 'ladies and gentlemen's' toilet block, courtesy of West Australian Airways, and fitted out with the best porcelain facitities - far superior to the old 'thunder box' at the Ceduna boarding house where I lived with the single bank clerks and school teachers!

The little building emblazoned with the ANA sign [below] was Ceduna's 'airport terminal'. It was built originally for West Australian Airways when that company inaugurated its ambitious Adelaide-Perth service in 1928 (with refuelling stops at Ceduna, Forrest and Kalgoorlie) using three-engined, 14 passenger DH.66 Hercules biplanes.

I understand passengers were served a hot lunch in the building in those days, after their three and a half hour morning flight from Adelaide. They then went on to Forrest where they dined and overnighted at the company's 'hostel' as it was called, a long single-storey building on the Nullarbor. After a very early breakfast, the flight continuued to Kalgoolie, then on to Perth's Maylands, arriving around lunchtime.

Australian National Airways Pty Ltd acquired the route in the mid-1930s, operating it first with DH.84 Dragons, and then with Australian first DC-2, VH-USY Bungana. The DC-2's speed (almost twice that of the earlier aircraft), made it possible for Adelaide-Perth to be flown in one day, eliminating the need for an overnight at Forrest. The DC-2 was later replaced by DC-3s, but the need for refuelling stops at Ceduna, Forrest and Kalgoorlie continued until the introduction of DC-4s to the route after the Second World War.

But the terminal building at Ceduna continued to be used as a passenger lounge and ticketing office by Guinea Airways' twice-weekly service from Adelaide, firstly with Lockheed 10 Electras and then with DC-3s. This was the situation when I was at Ceduna, and with the township still relatively isolated (from Port Augusta, the 510 mile road from Adelaide was rough gravel and impassable in wet weather), Guinea's air service was well patronised, both by passengers and freight.

From the look of the terminal building in the picture, I would think the shot was taken early post-war, just before DC-4s replaced the DC-3s on the Adelaide-Perth route. And it looks as if it could do with a lick of paint!

The building remained as it was until about 20 years ago when it was given a ‘face lift’ to cope with increasing passenger traffic. In contrast to the twice-weekly service from Adelaide in ‘my’ day, Ceduna is now served by two flights a day, operated by Rex with SAAB 340s.

The building just visible immediately behind the passenger terminal housed the aerdrome's emergency power station.


(Photos: CAHS collection)

Click here to see a slightly later aerial photo of Ceduna aerodrome


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